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From the Pastoral Staff -Sister Jean Laurich, SSJ Principal

Updated 6/27/2017

Freedom; A Sacred Gift

On the last day of the school year as students prepared to exit the building, a joyful shout arose among them, “Freedom!” However, there was one little voice near me exclaiming, “But I don’t want to be free.” While she seemed sad to leave school, most were delighted to be unfettered for a few months of summer vacation.

As you gather for Eucharist today, I am on my third day of a pilgrimage in LePuy, France, wandering freely to the holy sites of the SSJ foundation. The group gathers each morning for a guided mediation on the SSJ history and spirituality and for quiet prayer. Each afternoon we journey as pilgrims to the sacred places in LePuy and Lyon. Who knew when I planned the pilgrimage in November that this would be a significant journey in preparation for the ministry of SSJ mission coordinator? God’s grace finds its way in freedom.

Before the retreat ends, our steps will take us to the grave of Mother St. John, one of our foundresses. During the French revolution, she and other sisters refused to take a civil oath of allegiance to the government. As a result, it violently disrupted the lives of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Their ministry was destroyed, they were imprisoned without trial, and some were guillotined. Only the fall of Robespierre on the day before that appointed for the execution saved Jeanne Fontbonne from the guillotine. Instead of having chains put on their hands, they were told that they were free. "At this news which brought so much joy to the others, Mother Saint John was said to have cried sorrowfully: "Ah, my Sisters, we are not worthy of the grace to die for our holy religion.”

Over this long July weekend, our country celebrates its birth as a new nation, its freedom from the British Empire and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Truly, these are significant events in U.S. History and a challenge to each and every citizen in this present age to be faithful to the ideals of our country’s founding.

Wherever you find yourself on the journey this summer, rest in the joy and freedom of Jesus. Delight in the everyday and give thanks to God always for such grace and blessing.

With you in spirit,

Sister Jean Laurich,SSJ
a pilgrim companion